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Wednesday, 4 August 1920

Mr RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member for Dalley is not running the country; it is the Government who tell us that this Bill must become law within the next fortnight, although no more important measure could come before us.

Sir Granville Ryrie - We are told that there are some forty or fifty cases which cannot be dealt with by the Arbitration Court.

Mr RILEY - I agree with some of the provisions of the Bill.

Mr Marks - Will not the promised upheaval in the coal industry in New South Wales require this Bill in a hurry ?

Mr RILEY - The coal agreement will be in existence until about April next. This is a new machine for the settlement of industrial disputes ; and, as I say, I agree with a good deal of the Bill, but to force it through will only create suspicion - a most injudicious thing to do for the sake of gaining a week or two. What is the reason for the present action of the Government? Is it that the Government desire to visit German New Guinea, for a trip for which, I understand, the Australia, the Brisbane, and other warships are being fitted up ? Surely such a visit as that is not reckoned of more importance than a Bill of this kind ? I am prepared to give all fair and reasonable help to make this Bill a success, for I know a little about industrial arbitration, and recognise the defects of the present Act; but, if we are to look for industrial harmony, we ought first to have harmony in this Parliament. The Government, however, throw down the Bill like a bone and tell us to take it or leave it.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - How can you say that, when there is a fortnight allotted for its consideration? .

Mr RILEY - We do not sit on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays, and, therefore will have only about five days and a-half to consider the measure.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - You can have as many hours as you like to consider the Bill within the next fortnight.

Mr RILEY - Millions of money are invested in the industries of the country, and thousands of workers are interested; and this is a Bill which will put all into the " melting-pot."

Mr Prowse - Let us sit longer and do the work.

Mr RILEY - I am quite prepared, so long as we look after the interests of the people. When I go to Sydney at the week end, I wish to consult those who are interested in the Bill, but the second reading will then have been passed, and we shall thus be placed at a great disadvantage. The Government have discussed the Bill in Cabinet and with their party, and yet they demand that we shall dispose of it within a fortnight. Tomorrow, Thursday, is " grievance " day.


Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - It is not another day gone; honorable members opposite wish to waste half of every day, as they have been doing for the last month. Let us get to some useful work.

Mr RILEY - I ask the Minister not to get heated, . and I suggest that, when the Government have a party meeting to-morrow, they reconsider the position and ask the House to be united in evolving a proper measure. In the meantime I protest against the haste that is being displayed.'

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